Summer Is Here - Time To Get Little Explorers Out Into The Countryside
After months at home with daily limited exercise it is so refreshing to be able to get outdoors and even meet up with friends and family but there are days when persuading your ‘threenager’ to go on a walk feels like an impossible challenge! However, we all know that from a very young age being outside has all the obvious benefits as well as the not so obvious ones. Playing outside is a great sensory experience for a young child through sight, smell, hearing and touch. Just by picking up leaves and pinecones, your toddler is building on important development skills. In addition, they are also learning about the changing nature of the seasons. The good news is that we’ve got some tips on encouraging your little one to ‘get outside’, Little Explorer style.
This took a little planning but it didn’t take long to set up.
Our three tricks:
1. Gather lots of outdoors equipment, distribute important jobs to your tribe of walkers and know when to call it a day. Don’t plan a six-hour hike – keep it real and give those little legs an achievable challenge.
2. Gather all the outdoorsy kit you can find – head torches, map cases, compasses, bags, mini first aid kits and emergency foil blankets (for fun) and distribute these among your adventurers. This way everyone has an important role to play.
3. Print out maps of your area using Google Maps, footpath maps or street maps depending on your route. The great thing about this activity is that it is completely mouldable to the age of the children involved. You can show older ones how to use a compass, explain contour lines or map symbols. You can tell the littler ones how to plan an easy route and overlay it on the printed map using colourful pens.
Another trick is to hand-draw a map of your route, marking hills, boggy paths and other features like a fallen tree with mushrooms growing on it, or perhaps an abandoned hay bale. You can get the Little Explorers to practice their reading, and the youngest to look for the real object in comparison to the drawn representation. Depending on the weather (ie if it is not raining) you could mark extra features on the map as you go.
We added a sprinkle of magic to the adventure by calling an old highway marker a ‘wishing button’ which you have to press with your bottom to make a wish, and an old hay bale became Gruffalo bedding. The Little Explorers made up their own narrative too which was far more imaginative!
Don’t leave without emergency snacks and a thermal mug of hot chocolate to pep up any flaggers! So what are you waiting for, get out into nature and have fun!